Spain Western European state in the Iberian Peninsula.
Antiquity. The Spain acquires historical visibility with the disputes for its possession between the Carthaginians and the Romans in the Second Punic War. The presence of Phoenicians in Tartessos and the Phoenician foundation of Gades probably date back to around 1100 BC. (according to more prudent calculations to the 10th century); the Carthaginians destroyed Tartessus and the Phocean foundation of Menace around 500 BC, probably relying on old Phoenician settlements, but a real domain of Carthage was established in Spain only in the century. 3 ° BC, with the consequence of the elimination of the Greek centers to the South of Emporiae (the Spain had attracted the attention of the Greeks for some time, in particular of Samo and Phocaea as early as the 7th century, and, above all, of Marseille from the 6th). The merit of the conquest by the Romans belongs above all, after the exploits of the Cn brothers. and P. Scipione completed, after alternating events, with their death (211), to Fr. Scipione (later called African), who between 210 and 206 managed, even with skilful political moves, to completely expel the Carthaginians from Spain. Divided in 197 into two provinces (Hispania citerior and Hispania ulterior), the Spain was troubled for most of the republican age by insurrections of the natives, among which the most active were the Lusitanians and the Celtiberians, against whom Rome sent some of its best generals and politicians: M. Porcio Catone (195), C. Flaminio and M. Fulvio Nobiliore (193-191), Q. Fulvio Flacco (181), Tiberio Sempronio Gracco (180). The longest and most difficult of all was the Numantine War, which lasted about twenty years (154-133) and ended precisely with the destruction of Numantia. But in the following years Rome intervened again against repeated rebellions of the Lusitanians above all, of Celtiberi and Arevaci; then the civil wars of the 1st century. they still upset the region at the time of Sertorio and the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, which ended precisely in Spain, at Munda (46), where the last Pompeian forces were defeated. In the first years of the principality of Augustus, the region was finally pacified, mainly thanks to Agrippa, even if a strong garrison was permanently established there. Augustus first divided the Spain into three provinces: Hispania citerior or Tarraconensis, Lusitania and Hispania ulterior or Baetica, the first two imperial, the third senatorial; shortly after (between 7 and 2) the Asturias and Callecia (➔ Asturias) were constituted in their own diocese in the context of Hispania citerior, which became an autonomous province at the beginning of the century. 2nd; this administrative order was reworked by Diocletian, who divided the Spain into six provinces (the four already mentioned and also the Balearics and the Carthaginiensis, which were both detached from the Tarraconensis). Intensely Romanized since the convulsive period (2nd -1st century BC) of the indigenous uprisings with the deduction of colonies of veterans, the Spain (Ampurias), became, starting from the age of Caesar and Augustus who founded numerous new colonies, one of the regions that contributed most to the prosperity and progress of the empire: in fact, the most talented generals and emperors (including Trajan, Hadrian, Theodosius) and men of letters (Lucano, Marziale, Seneca, Quintilian etc.) were born here. The prosperity of the Spain was ensured by the numerous mines, by agricultural products (especially wine and oil), by the trades that were headed by the large ports of Emporiae Nova Carthago (Cartagena) and Gades (Cadiz).
The advent of Christianity. According to a tradition, which does not date back beyond the 8th century, Christianity was brought to Spain by the apostle James, who arrived there around 40. Another tradition would have it that Paul preached in Spain but the reality of the fact remains however very questionable also because that profound trace that st. Paolo always impressed in the places he touched. At the end of the 2nd century. Irenaeus explicitly states that Christianity spread to Spain. However, only in the middle of the 3rd century. Spanish Christianity reveals its presence on the occasion of the baptismal controversy between St. Cyprian and Stephen II. The widespread diffusion of Christianity in Spain is finally fully confirmed by the acts of the Council of Elvira, where around the year 300 there are 19 Spanish bishops. From the acts of the council it emerges that, alongside a part of the Church faithful to Christian doctrine and customs, the great mass of Spanish Christians did not make a clear distinction between paganism and Christianity. This strange mixture of Christian and pagan practices and customs is explained by the indifference of Spanish Christianity in the face of religious debates, in which, already in the 2nd century, the other Christianities of the Roman West were engaged. Absent substantially in the Arian controversy, as it will be in the Pelagian one, the Spanish Church had its first and only religious crisis of the ancient age in the Priscillianist episode (➔ Priscillian). The spread of the priscillianist movement, rigidly ascetic and rigorist, can certainly also be seen as a reaction of a component of Spanish Christianity against the corruption and the accommodating spirit of a large part of the Spanish episcopate and clergy. On this ground came the Arianism of the invaders Vandals, Alans and Visigoths. The Spanish Church was unable to resist and passed from Catholicism to Arianism and from this to Catholicism (with Recaredo in 589), according to the will of its rulers. As for the organization, the Spanish Church was divided into six metropolitan centers: Bracara, Emerita, Hispalis, Toletum, Caesaraugusta, Palma. Particular importance, as the seat of the vicar of Spain, had, from the Constantinian era, that of Hispalis (Seville), replaced in the Visigothic era by that of Toledo.